Wednesday, August 25, 2010

DTN News: Lebanon TODAY August 25, 2010 - Lebanon In Factional Power Struggle

Defense News: DTN News: Lebanon TODAY August 25, 2010 - Lebanon In Factional Power Struggle
* Two die in Beirut clashes sparked by 'personal dispute' ~ BBC News
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources including BBC News
(NSI News Source Info) BEIRUT, Lebanon - August 25, 2010: Two men have been killed in clashes in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, between supportersof the Shia Islamist group, Hezbollah, and a rival Sunni faction.
The violence erupted in Burj Abu Haidar following a fight outside a mosque.
The Lebanese army was later forced to intervene after the fighting spread to neighbouring parts of the city.
Leaders of Hezbollah and the pro-Syrian conservative al-Ahbash faction later met and issued a joint statement expressing regret for the violence.
Sectarian tensions have risen recently in Lebanon, amid reports that a UN tribunal could soon implicate members of Hezbollah in the assassination in 2005 of the then Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri.
Hezbollah's leader has dismissed the tribunal as an "Israeli project".'Personal dispute'
The BBC's Maha Barada in Beirut says calm has returned to the city after the armed clashes on Tuesday, during which machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades were fired through the streets of Burj Abu Haidar.
Security officials said one of those killed was Mohammed Fawaz, a local Hezbollah leader. It is not yet clear who the other casualty was, although an al-Ahbash official said one of its supporters had been killed.
A witness, Salah, said he had been inside the mosque in Burj Abu Haidar when he heard a commotion outside and people screaming "calm down". Twenty minutes later, gunshots rang out.
"They were shooting at the mosque. I think these people are crazy. They must have gone home to get their friends," he told the Associated Press.
The Lebanese army later cordoned off Burj Abu Haidar and forced the rivals to talk
The army later cordoned off the area and held a meeting with both parties, who agreed to a ceasefire and for an investigation to be opened.
A joint statement said the incident had been the result of a "personal dispute", and that both sides would end their armed presence.
"[We] stress that this was an individual unfortunate incident," it added.
A spokesman for al-Ahbash, Abdul Qadir al-Fakhani, told the BBC that the incident did not have any political or sectarian background.
The fighting was the worst since May 2008, when a political crisis led to street fighting between supporters of Hezbollah and those of the current pro-Western Sunni Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, the son of Rafik.
The sectarian strife took country to the brink of civil war in May 2008.
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News, contact:
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